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Gov. Beshear sends 500 National Guard troops to Louisville for Breonna Taylor protests

Gov. Beshear sends 500 National Guard troops to Louisville for Breonna Taylor protests

by Matthew Glowicki | Louisville Courier Journal  |  Published on September 24, 2020

About 500 Kentucky National Guard members have been sent to Louisville on Wednesday amid the fallout from the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case.

Gov. Andy Beshear authorized the deployment of the guard Wednesday morning, guard spokesman Maj. Stephen Martin said.

The guard members are providing “civil disturbance support” to the Louisville Metro Police Department and are protecting “critical infrastructure sites,” such as hospitals, in and around Louisville.

“Guard leadership will retain command and control while working with the LMPD,” Martin added.

During his Wednesday evening news conference, Beshear said he wanted to assure Louisvillians the deployment was “limited” and his goal “is to make sure that we can keep everybody safe.”

Beshear previously dispatched the guard to Louisville for protest response in late May, during the early days of the demonstrations.

The guard’s presence in Louisville was marked by the fatal shooting of barbecue chef David McAtee by a guard member June 1.

McAtee’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the guard. An attorney for the family said he hasn’t been able to get information about the guard’s role, policies and the chain of command on the night of the shooting.

“My commitment is to make sure that something like what happened to Mr. McAtee, regardless of the reasons that it happens, don’t happen again,” Beshear said, adding there’s a different command structure in place for the current deployment.

The governor said the guard’s role won’t be the “forward facing” role LMPD is playing.

“I know that it can be hard to see that presence, and I know that there are some that disagree with it,” Beshear said. “But I can tell you from my standpoint why it’s being done is to make sure that anyone and everyone can express their First Amendment rights, but that they can do so safely, that no one can can incite violence and that critical infrastructure can can continue to operate…”

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